Snooker, Darts and Golf

  • Question – what do snooker, darts and golf have in common?

If you don’t know, then keep reading….

At the moment, I am watching the snooker World Championships. Tonight, I will be watching the Premier League darts and last month I was glued to the Masters from Augusta.

Whilst at first glance these sports may seem diverse, from the visual point of view they are actually quite similar, as they are all “aiming” sports.

Let me explain what I mean.

In snooker the cue ball is aimed, at the object ball – a colour ball, red etc. In darts the arrow (dart) is aimed, at a particular point or section of the board e.g. treble twenty, double sixteen etc. and in golf the golf ball is aimed, at the hole.

So, what distinguishes the success of elite professional players from your average club player? Apart from lots of practice one of the main things is how they use their eyes.

Sports Psychologists and Vision Scientists have shown that fixating on a particular location or object is common in top performers. Research shows that in order to be successful at aiming at a target, the final fixation of the eyes made by the performer, must not only be located on the target, BUT must be fixated, of a long enough duration, to ensure accuracy.

What this means in snooker is that you want to stay looking at the object ball long enough to make sure you are aimed correctly, before you start your cue action. Also, you should maintain your fixation on this point, for 1 – 2 seconds after you have hit the ball.

Similarly in golf with putting, focus on the back of the ball for 2 – 3 seconds before you begin your back swing and maintain that focus point, for the same length of time after you have hit the ball.

We have worked with club golfers using this technique and have seen improvements in their putting, coming very quickly.

This technique is called “QUIET EYE” training.

In the darts world one of the best exponents of this technique is the young darts sensation Luke Littler. If you watch him carefully, he looks at the target even as he approaches the hockey. He continues to look at this point whilst he throws the dart and maintains this focus even after he has released the dart.

When you watch him play, look at his eyes, his head and body, they don’t move as he throws the dart. His eyes remain fixated on the target.

There is lots of information on the internet about “Quiet Eye” training, if you would like to learn more about this technique.

Alternatively, contact me at The Vision Performance Hub and I will happily have a chat with you about how it could improve your performance.